- Amazon Student members get an extra 5% off this product Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
The Mongols: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 26 Apr 2012
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
About the Author
Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History, Columbia University; Distinguished Professor of History, City University of New York; author of Khubilai Khan, Voyagerfrom Xanadu, China and Inner Asia, Modern Mongolia, and seven other books. Rossabi has lectured on Chinese and Mongolian history in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Considered the world's leading expert on the Mongols.
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
Morris Rossabi's book really is in the best tradition of the 'Very Short Introduction' series: well thought through, no wasted words, informed in its opinions and tightly focussed. He explains how the first wave of conquest westwards by Chinggis Kahn was extended by his sons and grandsons to become four great, separate kahnates. He explores how they interacted with each other and the nations and cultures with which they at first collided and later integrated. Historically much has been made of the brutality and violence of the Mongol advance, but Rossabi also draws out the more positive impact that they made and the legacy they left behind. (How much is Russia's politics and its view of itself in the world still shaped today by the Mongol years between about 1240 and 1480?)
This was a fascinating read and a very informative one. My questions were all answered and a lot more beside. If you're curious about it all as I was, this is a great book to read first.
If one knew that the Mongolians pushed westward into Europe, the reason for their retreat is murkier. Here Rossabi is bold and inclusive, offering the practical reason of the dearth of grasslands for their steeds, rather than a political reason, in their leader's desire to return to Mongolia because the Great Khan had died. To support this interpretation, Rossabi points out that Batu, the leader of the army into the west, upon returning did not actually take part in the election. However, the cause to return and the return itself may not be linked, especially since later Hulegu, Khubilai's brother, traveled back from Syria to Mongolia after hearing about the death of the Great Kahn.
If the Mongolian push westerward is well-known, Rossabi also reviews their disastrous campaigns eastward, to Japan and Vietnam. This is only one example of the balance Rossabi reaches in an empire with so many theaters, including, for instance modern day China and Iran. Moreover, he includes pictures, archaeological findings and the architecture of the Daidu, the new Mongolian capital, with the latter used to show the Mongolian nod towards Chinese layout of a city.
One feels fairly treated as a reader. For example the view that the Mongolians carried the Black Plague westward is considered and, even if doubt is induced, this view is never dismissed. Instead, as with so many parts of this book, Rossabi provides alternatives in in unfailingly lucid prose, for example including the theory that a fall in temperature forced Chenggnis to wage foreign campaigns. Two main quibbles, however, may be offered. The first, that the Mongolians helped to create an Office of Muslim Astronomy is repeated in the book may make one wary of accepting the line that the Mongolians were cultural fermenters. The second more serious quibble is Rosabbi's claim that Rashid al-Din was the first to attempt a global history. (p84) This view ignores Polybius' Histories whose gaze includes many geographical theaters and indeed ignores Polybius' own words that Eporus was the first universal historian before him. (Polybius. 5. 33)Moreover I would have liked Rossabi to explain why men occupied the left side of the ger and the women the right and also to explain the significance of the name Kahn. These points aside, this is a lucid and extremely balanced book and I can only thank Rossabi for providing such historical nectar to fill my long-standing curiosity about the Mongolians.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The one on Logic was more engaging than this, and this has a man raised by a single mother growing up to revenge his father, and conquer the largest land empire ever! In All the History!.
I love the Mongols, and I love VSI, but this is the worst of both.
“The Mongols: A Very Short Introduction” is what it says it is. For a quick overview of the rise of Ghengis Kahn and the next four generations of Mongol Rule from Hungry east through China with incursions into Russia, Korea and Japan, this is good. The details of the four main branches of the Ghengis Khan empire from about 1200 to about 1400 are fascinating. The military history is too complicated to understand in this short version, but the quick review is well done. The cultural and artisan history is also quite brief as expected from the title, but outlines the subject quite well. The book leaves one hungering for more. This book is necessary as the usual Western treatment of this topic is to ignore this history, important as it is. Combined with “The Silk Road A Very Short Introduction” by James Millward the reader can get a good snapshot of the importance of Central Asia and Mongolia.
If you are looking an overview, this works.
Look for similar items by category